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AstraZeneca to discontinue Epanova trial, expects $100 mln writedown

Jan 13 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca AZN.L said on Monday it will discontinue a late-stage trial for heart disease drug Epanova to treat patients with mixed dyslipidaemia and expects a $100 million writedown to hit its core profit in the fourth quarter. The biggest British drugmaker by market value said the decision, which followed recommendations from an independent data monitoring committee, was due to low likelihood of Epanova's benefit to patients with mixed dyslipidaemia. Mixed dyslipidaemia is characterized by abnormal levels of cholesterol and fatty substances in the blood known as triglycerides. AstraZeneca added Epanova, which is is already approved in the United States to reduce high levels of triglyceride, to its pipeline when it bought U.S.-based Omthera Pharmaceuticals in 2013 to build up its cardiovascular drug business. In a separate statement, AstraZeneca and Merck MRK.N said their ovarian cancer drug Lynparza, in combination with bevacizumab, has been granted priority review status in the U.S. and a decision on its approval is set for the second quarter this year.

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